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Use of Similar Name - Misleading?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Leila, 24 May 2014.

  1. Leila

    Leila Member

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    We have a pastor that has recently left our church however he has started up a business using the same name as our church, just spelt differently (he has abbreviated it and used a number instead of a word). He has also created a very similar logo to our church logo however he has changed one colour. Do we have any legal rights under intellectual property law to ask him to change the name and logo being that is sounds and looks similar to ours? He is advertising it on facebook and people are starting to assume we are sponsoring or supporting him as he is playing on our name.

    Thanks
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Leila,
    The pastor's conduct may be considered:
    Your church should consider engaging a business/commercial lawyer in your local area for further assistance.
    A business/commercial lawyer will generally review the advertising and marketing materials (Facebook Ads, logos, etc.) used by the pastor and provide options for you to resolve this matter. This generally starts with a phone call and/or strongly worded letter to the pastor that:
    • sets out why the conduct may be considered misleading or deceptive conduct and/or passing off; and
    • a timeframe for the pastor to change his advertising and marketing materials.
    Please keep us updated with your progress. All the best.
     
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  3. Worldly1

    Worldly1 Well-Known Member

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    Agree with John R.
     
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  4. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member
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    Not sure about the misleading and deceptive conduct part under the ACLU as it might not be conduct in 'trade or commerce' . But apart from that I agree generally with John.
     
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  5. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    You're spot on Paul,
    I simply referenced Australian Consumer Law because of the original question's reference to "business" and the numerous stories I've seen on TV about Hillsong Church, etc. generating revenues that are comparable to a medium-sized business.
     
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  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Probably not Misleading and Deceptive Conduct.
    I say this because a church is, at least so far as doing its religious practices is concerned,
    probably not "in trade or commerce", and therefore is probably not engaging in transactions to which the ACL applies.

    Find yourself an Intellectual Property firm,
    and ask them to advise you vis-a-vis trademarks (you probably don't have one)
    and, as suggested above, passing off.
     
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